Chapter 1: USCENTCOM

Strategic Environment

U.S. Policy / Interests / Objectives / Country Analysis

Table of Contents

U.S. Policy

The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President's National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman's National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command's theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM's theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States' vital interest in the region - uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil.

Endnote 13 / Top


The national interests outlined in the National Security Strategy and the objectives articulated in our National Military Strategy form the bases for the Central Command's objectives and supporting strategy. Primary among U.S. interests in the USCENTCOM AOR is uninterrupted secure access to Arabian Gulf oil. That in turn ensures freedom of navigation and access to commercial markets, security of friends and allies, and regional peace and stability through containment of Iran and Iraq and prevention of hostilities between India and Pakistan. Other interests include a comprehensive breakthrough in the Middle East Peace Process, and security of U.S. citizens and property throughout the region.

Endnote 14 / Top


Central Command's objectives are to enhance regional stability and demonstrate our steadfast commitment to security in this volatile region. Our continued engagement directly contributes to the strategy articulated by the National Command Authorities. It improves our ability to prevent domination of the region by non-friendly powers, allowing the principles of human rights, free market economies and democratic processes to take root and flourish.

Regional Objectives

Endnote 15, 16 / Top

Country Analysis

The next chapters will provide more detailed information on the countries within the USCENTCOM AOR. The countries are divided into three groups: the South Asia sub-region, the Arabian Peninsula & Gulf sub-region, and the Horn of Africa & Red Sea sub-region. A brief overview of each sub-region is first provided and then, in the following pages, each country in the AOR will be detailed using the five-ring analysis model to classify country-specific data from a top-down perspective.


Those functions that provide direction, unity and purpose to the system and decide which objectives to pursue.

System Essentials

Those essential energy-related elements and processes that sustain the system, without which the system cannot maintain itself.


Those components that transport or convey the system's products, and the non-essential elements and processes that shape the system.


Those elements that unite people within the system by some common interest or characteristic.

Fielded Forces

Those elements that protect your rings or influence/threaten those of another system.